Flu season is here again, and while it’s almost never too late to get a flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends individuals receive their flu vaccinations early in the fall — ideally no later than the end of October. People need a flu vaccine every fall because influenza mutates each year. It takes two weeks for the immune system to fully respond to the vaccine, so it’s important to plan accordingly and get vaccinated before an increase in flu activity starts in our community.
According to The Associated Press, fewer Americans got a flu vaccine last year than before the coronavirus pandemic –- a discouraging gap that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hopes to reverse. That’s because getting vaccinated remains the first and most important step in avoiding illness.
Pharmacists Len McCook and his wife, Janie, who own McCook’s Pharmacy, 23630 Highway 80 East, can personally attest to the importance of the vaccine and are urging local residents to get their flu shots — the sooner, the better.
“While there’s no guarantee a vaccine will prevent you coming down with the flu, it still gives you the best chance to avoid getting sick if you come in contact with the flu virus,” Len McCook said.
The CDC recommends all eligible people age 6 months and older be vaccinated. It’s especially important for reducing the risk of severe flu infection in groups including young children, adults age 65 and older, and those who have certain chronic health conditions. All flu vaccines in the United States are “quadrivalent,” meaning they guard against four different flu strains, and the CDC advises that they may be co-administered with the most current COVID-19 shot, saving patients an extra trip to the doctor’s office or pharmacy. This year’s COVID vaccine, also available now, is updated to protect against newer versions of the constantly evolving coronavirus (Associated Press).
Also, don’t forget those basic but important preventative measures — frequent hand-washing, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and staying at home and isolating when sick — to help protect yourself and others this winter virus season.
Flu shots are available now for patients ages 4 and older at McCook’s Pharmacy, with no appointment necessary. Simply drop in between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, or 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday.
“If you need a flu shot, come see us,” McCook said. “But flu season is about to really get started … so even if you don’t receive the vaccine from us, get a shot this season.”
Established in 2005, McCook’s is a locally owned and operated full-service pharmacy offering double drive-through windows and convenient city-wide delivery. New customers are always welcome! Contact McCook’s by phone at (912) 764-2223 or find more online at www.mccookspharmacy.com.